After a busy Advent and Christmas season, it sure is nice to be posting something here again! And, I've got quite a list of things that I want to blog about; there's so much catching up that I need to do! So, I'm just going to jump in...
Back in September Eric got me a kindle with a pretty, green-leather case for my birthday. It was quite a surprise!
I've been curious about e-readers but honestly didn't know if I'd really like owning one. I got more interested when I learned that most classics are free, but I was still skeptical. Now after using my kindle for a few months, I have to say that I absolutely love it! It's convenient (the ability to turn a page one handed is fantastic while nursing a baby), easy to read on (I have trouble with eye strain and quickly get a headache after reading on a computer screen for only a few minutes. No problems with my eyes with my kindle!) and since it has a web browser, I can read all my favorite blogs on it as well. I also put the Bible on it and I love the ability to easily search in the Scriptures when I can't remember what book or chapter a particular passage is in. It really is one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received.
Clara likes it, too!
Probably my favorite Christmas gift this year was a nice flash for my camera. It already had a small, pop-up flash, but my new flash is so much better. I can control the strength of the flash and I can point it in any direction. Bouncing the flash off a wall or the ceiling creates a much softer, more natural look to photos. Now I can take all the pretty pictures I want while indoors or where natural light is limited.
I was so excited to be able to put my new flash to work this past Thursday because it was Clara's birthday!
My little girl is 1! I still can't believe it. They say that as you get older the years go by faster and I believe it. My little baby is now toddling around, clapping, saying "mama" and "dada" and can scarf down a birthday cupcake like nobody's business!
I took dozens of pictures of this messy face!
And the pictures turned out great even though it was dark outside and the lighting at our kitchen table is not bueno. Love. It.
I just finished a fabulous book! Unfortunately, it doesn't have a kindle edition, but it was well worth buying the paperback. I saw Rachel's Contrition by Michelle Buckman recommended on Faith and Family Live and a couple other friends recommended it as well. It's a Catholic novel but it is so well written that it is in the top 5 in women's fiction on Amazon right now. It's one of the best Christian novels I've ever read and certainly takes the top spot for Catholic Fiction in my opinion. The characters are real and interesting, the plot keeps you turning pages and the power of God's love and forgiveness is beautifully woven into the fabric of the story. Seriously, you need to read this book. All Catholic book lovers out there need to support this amazing Catholic writer and mother of five!
Over the Christmas holiday, I asked my brother to take some couple portraits of Eric and me. My brother is to blame for my photography obsession as it was his new DSLR camera that hooked me after the very first time I heard the click of the shutter release button. He's an excellent photographer in his own right and has quite a bit more gear and experience than I do. So we loaded up his flashes, softboxes and fancy shmancy lenses and headed to a local park in my hometown to take some pictures. Somehow we found some pretty scenery in the dead, brown of West Texas in winter time and I'm really pleased with how the pictures turned out!
These are the first portraits we've had done since our wedding day more than 10 years ago.
Note: The backlighting in the second and third shots make my husband look even balder than he already is. Just add some glasses to those pics and he could be George Costanza from Seinfeld! :)
To celebrate Clara's birthday we took the entire family to see the movie Tangled. The birthday girl enjoyed the movie in the way one-year-olds do best, by taking a good long nap in Mommy's arms. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie. I don't think I have seen an animated movie that good that wasn't a Pixar movie in a very long time. Even Eric and the boys enjoyed it. It's definitely a winner of a family movie.
I have another book recommendation and I have to confess that I haven't yet finished the book. But, I've gleaned so many gems of wisdom from the first two chapters alone that I can't wait to give it a shout out. Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms by Tami Kiser is full of realistic, practical advice on everything from taming toy clutter to controlling our kids access to media to fostering spiritual beauty in our children. This Catholic mother of nine has an easy writing style and I have already implemented several of her tips. I'm not a big self-help book reader in general but I would definitely recommend this book!
One last story from "The Things People Say!" chronicles.
Over Thanksgiving we were at Eric's parents house and we were blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving day with all of Eric's extended family who are wonderful, Christian people, but not Catholic. Eric's sister had recently announced that she is expecting her second baby and everyone was still talking about the big news. Eric's Aunt M came up to me and told me this story:
Aunt M: After we heard the news, I told K (her son) that D & D (Eric's parents) were going to be grandparents again. K immediately responded, "Oh, no! Not Colleen!"
Then Aunt M burst out laughing. I didn't know what else to do but laugh along with her. She thought it was hilarious! But, it seemed to me that K's response would have been more appropriate if someone had been diagnosed with cancer, not with the announcement of a new baby! I hope that when the time comes when we do announce that we are having another baby that our family will be happy for us and not think some horrible circumstance had befallen us.
Oh, well. Obviously there is an opportunity there for evangelization. I guess I really need to work on exhibiting joy in motherhood so that everyone around me can see babies for the blessings they are, regardless of how many siblings they might have!
May God bless you all in the new year!